Bicycle Crunches: Work Your Upper and Lower Abs

Bicycle Crunches

With Bicycle Crunches, or Bicycle Kicks, you extend your legs into the air, like your pedaling a bicycle. You will perform this exercise as a variation on ab crunches. The difference is that you always have both feet off the ground during these bicycle crunches.

This makes bicycle crunches a bit harder, than standard ab crunches. Also, it tends to work the lower abs more. Typically, keeping your legs off the ground works the lower abs. Keeping your legs flat, on the other hand, works the middle abs.

bicycle crunches exercise2

Interestingly, bicycle crunches also work the rectus abdominus muscle (upper abs). This is the highest set of ab muscles you have. When people refer to the “eight pack” as opposed to the “six pack” these are the two muscles they are talking about. So, if you want an “eight pack” make sure to include bicycle crunches in your workout.

If you are having trouble with bicycle crunches, try alternating ab curls. When you get a strong core, you can “graduate” to bicycle crunches where you keep both feet off the ground.  Here are the health diagnostics for Bicycle Crunches exercise:

  • Main Muscle Used: Abs, 
  • Secondary Muscles: Hamstrings, Quads
  • Equipment Required: None
  • Movement: Isolated
  • Exercise Type: Push

Here’s a video explanation of the Bicycle Crunches Exercise:


Here’s another video explanation of the Bicycle Crunches exercise:

To do the Bicycle Crunches Exercise:

  1. Lie face up and place your hands behind your head, supporting your neck with your fingers.
  2. Have your abs tucked in and the small of your back pushed hard against the floor
  3. Lift your knees in toward your chest while lifting your shoulder blades off the floor.
  4. Rotate to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee as you extend the other leg into the air.
  5. Switch sides, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee.
  6. Alternate each side in a pedaling motion for 3 sets of 12 reps.

Do these exercises 3 times per week, doing 3 sets or more each time. Make sure to breathe in and out each rep, and focus on tightening your core, not your neck, through each repetition. Make sure to focus on your form each lift as well. Stop the exercise if you feel any pain, especially in your lower back.

Popular Bicycle Crunches Exercise Workouts:

  • The Jessica Alba workout uses bicycle crunches during her abs routine. Using the 3-2-1 workout, designed by Romana Braganza, she does this exercise 2-3 times a week.
  • The Zac Efron workout also uses bicycle crunches exercises during his 3-2-1 workouts, as he also worked out with Braganza while filming “Charlie St. Cloud” and “17 Again.”
  • The Jen Selter workout program uses this exercise as one of her go-to favorites during her ab workouts.
  • The Henry Cavill Immortals workout used a lot of bicycle crunches, according to Men’s Health UK.
  • The HIIT Workout Videos include Bicycle Crunches in their routines, while also including many other exercises.
  • The Brad Pitt Workout for Troy used this exercise. Brad Pitt worked with trainer Gergory Joujon-Roche.
  • Trainer Gregory Joujon-Roche also used Bicycle Abs exercise to get Pink, Demi Moore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey McGuire for Spiderman, and Michael C. Hall (Dexter).
  • The Jay-Z workout and the Beyonce workout both use Bicycle Crunches. Their trainer puts a twist on the exercise, by having them keep their body in a V-shape throughout the exercise.
  • The Jennifer Garner Workout for her movies uses Bicycle Crunches. She starts with normal, and reverse crunches, then transitions into what her trainer calls Elbow-to-Knee Crunches (another name for bicycle crunches). Then, Jennifer Garner does Side Planks and Forearm Planks.
  • The Marisa Miller workout uses bicycle crunches to tone her abs.
  • The Rock workout uses Double Crunches, then Bicycle Crunches, and Reverse Crunches during his abs routine.

Here, celebrity personal trainer, Gregory Joujon-Roche, explains how to perform the Bicycle Crunches exercise:

When doing the Bicycle Crunches exercise, Marco Borges, Jay-Z and Beyonce personal trainer, has his clients stay in an upright position. Instead of letting your shoulder blades touch the ground each rep, you stay up in a V-shape. This way, your body works your lower abs more.

Marco Borges says:

Keep one foot on the ground in the beginning until you develop the core strength to balance your body without touching the floor.

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